New proposals to transform historic Leicester Market
LEICESTER’s outdoor market could be set for a stunning transformation if new proposals are given the go-ahead.
City Mayor Peter Soulsby is considering major investment in the 800 year-old market, to ensure it is fit for the future and to complement the ongoing redevelopment work in the area.
The improvements would follow the construction of a new public square on the site of the old indoor market, and the repaving of the roads surrounding it, but would take priority over an extension to the Corn Exchange building.
Initial proposals for the outdoor market are to give it a fresh new look, with improved stalls, better lighting and new signage.
The revamp could include changes to the roof to make it more transparent, and the installation of LED lighting, which would save energy and reduce costs.
Shoppers and traders will be consulted on the proposals as part of the detailed design process, and it’s expected that final designs will go to the City Mayor for approval early next year.
City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “It’s clear that the work we’ve already done at the market has made a huge difference, with the new food hall providing customers with the attractive shopping environment they want.
“The creation of a new public square and improvements to the roads and pavements around the market will really transform the area, but they will also highlight the poor quality of the outdoor market.
“I am therefore proposing that improvements to the market should take precedence over the Corn Exchange extension, which is something we could look at again in the future when we have seen how the new public square is being used.
“The market has been a significant feature of the city for hundreds of years, and we need to ensure it retains that position for many more years to come.”
Consultation on the proposals for the outdoor market will begin in the next few weeks.
Project manager Mike Dalzell said: “We have a lot of preparation work to do to move utilities and carry out necessary changes to the highways, but our aim is for construction of the new square to begin in the new year and finish by autumn 2016.”
The first phase of the market redevelopment was completed in May 2014, with the opening of the bright and airy new food hall.
The food hall has already won several awards, including Best Food Market from the National Markets Association (NABMA) and Best New Building from the Leicester Civic Society.